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adam morgan foundation

feeding title

oralSome children are not just picky eaters.

Sensory Solutions is extremely concerned about the increased amount of children with feeding issues, that is why the Sensory Solutions Food School was created! Led by Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Dieticians, clients begin with gross motor warm up exercises, followed by breathing exercises and progressing to oral motor skills, chewing and eventually eating. Eating is the most complex physical task that human beings engage in. It is the ONLY human task which requires every organ systems, and requires that all of those systems work correctly. One swallow, for example, takes 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves to coordinate. Plus, eating is the ONLY task a child does which require simultaneous coordination of all 8 of our sensory systems. Learning, Development, Nutrition and the Environment also have to be integrated in order for a child to eat correctly.

Goals of the Food School include decreasing anxiety towards new foods, increasing socialization and peer interactions, increasing jaw and oral motor strength and adding new foods to a child’s restricted diet. It has been found that children with feeding problems progress quicker if paired with other children with similar problems rather than a therapist or parent without feeding difficulties. eating

More and more children are being referred to therapy for feeding concerns. This can begin as early as a few weeks old to teen age years. The earlier the feeding concerns are treated, the sooner the child will go on to live a typical life and eat in a typical manner. Not only will this improve the child’s life, but family live is improved. A child with a delay in feeding can impact family life, as it was once known.

Many children are referred during the first year of life when they are not able to tolerate textures and/or move on to table foods. They often refuse to eat, gag, vomit, will not transition from a bottle, eat only certain colors of food, pocket foods or over-stuff their mouths, limit themselves to less than 10 consistent foods, refusal to self-feed and feeding becomes a negative event in both the child and family’s life.

At the outpatient clinic, many of the children have a diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which often leads to feeding issues in infants and children. Poor weight gain may be an early sign of feeding difficulty. There may be resistance to eating including arching, refusal to sit in a high chair, batting at utensil as it approaches the child’s mouth or gagging. Feeding is difficult for everyone involved and mealtimes are often a source of great stress for the family.eating

Your child may have sensitivities to temperature and textures that are not just related to food issues. Our Occupational and Speech Therapists are trained in the Sequential Oral Sensory or "SOS" approach to feeding. Determining “why” a child is not eating is critical to a treatment program. The problems can be medical, neurological, behavioral, psychological or sensory based. Medical problems need to first be ruled out (i.e. Reflux, aspiration)

If in fact the child is having a difficult time processing sensory information a thorough sensory evaluation iseating completed. Based on results a treatment program is established. Progress with feeding may be minimal until the underlying delays in sensory processing are corrected. The therapists at Sensory Solutions, LLC are trained to perform evaluations and establish a treatment plan that will improve functional skills including feeding. Once the sensory system is organized an intense feeding program will begin.

Once the sensory issues subside, it is common to have oral motor weakness due to lack of chewing and “mouthing”. Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapists work as a team to overcome the sensory and oral motor components. A strong focus is placed on family education using a behavioral and neuromuscular model. If not treated, the problems typically worsen with age. The younger the child can begin treatment, the better.